On Saturday morning, in advance of their lone exhibition game against Rockhurst University, Marquette announced that sophomore Sacar Anim will be redshirting for the 2016-17 season.
If I understand NCAA eligibility rules correctly, the decision about Anim’s season needed to be made before the exhibition game. I don’t think there’s any problem with him participating in the scrimmage with Dayton, because it’s technically an ungoverned event as far as the NCAA is concerned. However, if he were to participate in a public, advertised, ticketed exhibition game, that would still burn his year of eligibility. Determining this now, and more importantly announcing this now, eliminates any silly discussion down the line later this season about what Anim’s status is when he’s not playing.
As you can see in the graphic attached to Marquette’s tweet, Anim appeared in 17 games as a freshman last season, but played just 83 minutes total. He appeared in just seven Big East games and played more than five minutes just three times. None of that was particularly surprising, as Marquette was stacked on the wing and at 6’5” tall and 205 pounds, Anim wasn’t going to be particularly effective as a backup power forward at the collegiate level.
Marquette is still stacked at the wing position this season, and the fact of the matter is that between the returning guys who clearly deserve minutes, the transfers who have come into the program with an expectation to get minutes, and freshman Sam Hauser who has already drawn rave reviews from head coach Steve Wojciechowski, it seemed hard to figure out how Anim was going to get on the floor. This was pointed out in our Player Preview article for him, where I couldn’t see him being higher than 11 or 12 in the rotation. If Wojo is planning on going “nine or 10 deep” every night, then where does that leave Anim? On the bench.
Anim will get a season off and keep three years of eligibility. He’ll be back to play in 2017-18, when Jajuan Johnson and Katin Reinhardt are off the roster, replaced by Theo John and Ike Eke, two clear power forwards. Marquette will have a bit more space on the floor for a wing player at that point, which will probably work out well for Anim with another year to get better at his craft.